by Tammy Taylor
Here in NE Texas the honeysuckle is blooming. Aaaahhh sweet childhood memories of my siblings and me standing around a honeysuckle vine under that blue sky, pulling the fragrant flowers and sucking the sweet honey from the blooms. I decided to make honeysuckle jelly so I could taste those wonderful memories.
I have very limited honeysuckle vines here on the ranch, but thankfully my mother has a bumper crop. So I harvested about 4 cups of honeysuckle flowers at her house and brought them home. First I took each flower and cut the tiny green bulb from the base of each of the blooms. This leaves only the petals and the honey.
After rinsing the blossoms in a colander I boiled 4 cups of water in a large saucepan and removed the pan from the heat. I added the honeysuckle flowers and replaced the cover on the pan. I allowed the blossoms to steep for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. This makes a blossom infusion. Breathe deeply and smell that wonderful aroma…
I strained the petals from the water and set aside the petals for my compost. In my saucepan I returned two cups of the blossom infusion, 1/4 cup lemon juice and 4 cups of sugar and stirred until the sugar was dissolved. I should caution here that trying to double the recipe can result in failure of the mixture to jell properly. If you want to save the extra infusion and make more jelly, put it aside and do one batch at a time, don’t try to do a double batch now. I don’t know why this keeps the jelly from thickening, but it does. In that case instead of jelly you will have “Honeysuckle Honey” – still delicious just not thick. Ask me how I know… Eh hem!
Although it wasn’t in the recipe I added a couple of teaspoons of citrus zest to the mixture, I just wanted a little zesty-zip. Then I turned the heat on medium high and brought the infusion to a boil. I brought it to a hard boil that could not be stirred down (220 degrees), added the liquid pectin and set the timer for two minutes. After the infusion boiled those two minutes I removed the pan from the heat. The hot jelly was ladled into hot sterilized half-pint canning jars, the rim of each jar was wiped clean of any drips and I placed a two-part canning lid/ring onto each jar, tightening only until medium snug.
I placed the jars of jelly into my water-bath canner and lowered them into the boiling water completely covering the jars by 1″ and placed the lid on the canner. After the water returned to a rolling boil I set the timer for 5 minutes.
After the timer went off I carefully lifted the jars out of the canner and set them onto a tea towel to cool. After 24 hours you can test the seal to make sure it sealed correctly by gently pressing the middle of the flat lid. If it makes a plinky noise when pressed, the jar did not seal – put it in the fridge and consume the contents quickly. All of mine sealed just fine. These jars look like they contain summer sunshine, do they not?
This honeysuckle jelly tastes just like the blossoms I remember as a child – absolutely delicious. Give it a try! For more updates, follow me on Facebook.
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Honeysuckle Jelly – Yields 7 half-pints
- 4 cups honeysuckle flowers
- 4 cups boiling water
- 1/4 c. lemon juice
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 package liquid pectin
To make an infusion, prepare the flowers by removing the tiny green tip at the base of each blossom.
Next, bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan, turn the heat off, then add the honeysuckle blossoms, covering the pan after blooms are placed in water. Allow them to steep for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. (note: I’ve refrigerated the cooled infusion with the blossoms overnight, and although the infusion was dark green when I strained it, the jelly ended up golden yellow and even more intensely flavored…)
Strain the flowers from the liquid. Measure two cups of the infusion and return it to the saucepan.
Add lemon juice and sugar and turn heat to medium high, stirring constantly. Bring the infusion to a hard boil that won’t stir down. (220 degrees)
Add the pectin and boil for two minutes. Reduce heat if necessary to avoid boiling over – the mixture will rise quite a bit when it’s boiling so it’s best to use an over-sized pan.
Ladle jelly into hot, sterilized jars, and screw on canning lids. Place jars in boiling water of a water-bath canner for 5 minutes. Remove jars and place on a towel, out of drafts and allow to cool for 24 hours. After 24 hrs test the lids to make sure the jars are properly sealed
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